Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Monday, 25 August 2008
2 boats land in Gaza with 40 Peace Activists
Mood:  celebratory
Now Playing: Historic Journey by Peace Activist
Build Peace Newsletter
At approximately 6:10pm local time, the Free Gaza Movement's c.  ICAHD's Jeff Halper was among the 40+ activists from around the world who made this historic journey.
Today Jeff Halper was part of an international effort to break the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.  Despite death threats, intimidation from the Israeli government, and electronic jamming during the voyage, the two boats of the Free Gaza Movement made port in Gaza.

The boats, the S.S. Liberty and the S.S. Free Gaza, carried 46 peace activists from all over the world including Jeff, and 81 year old Catholic nun, Tony Blair's sister-in-law Lauren Booth, and many others.  They carried with them hearing aids for children who have suffered hearing loss from the Israeli air force's sonic overflights of the Gaza Strip and biodegradable balloons for Gazan children.

The organizers hope their effort will open up a route of contact for Gaza through Cyprus.  Over the next several hours and days, please monitor their website, freegaza.org, for updates.  We will also be posting updates at icahdusa.org.

Below are links to news reports of the trip and arrival in Gaza as well as the just-issued press release from the Free Gaza Movement.  This inspiring effort once again reminds us that ordinary people can do extraordinary things in the service of human rights and international law.

in solidarity,
Elyse Crystal
Coordinating Director, ICAHD-USA

Peace protest boats arrive in Gaza - The Guardian
Israel allows blockade busting boats enter Gaza - Ha'aretz
On a mission to free Gaza - The Scotsman
Boats reach Gaza despite blockade - Al Jazeera
Activist boats reach Gaza Strip - BBC
Free Gaza boats leaving port in Cyprus Free Gaza Boats Arrive In Gaza


Two small boats, the SS Free Gaza and the SS Liberty, successfully landed in Gaza early this evening, breaking the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The boats were crewed by a determined group of international human rights workers from the Free Gaza Movement. They had spent two years organizing the effort, raising money by giving small presentations at churches, mosques, synagogues, and in the homes of family, friends, and supporters.
They left Cyprus on Thursday morning, sailing over 350 kilometers through choppy seas. They made the journey despite threats that the Israeli government would use force to stop them. They continued sailing although they lost almost all communications and navigation systems due to outside jamming by some unknown party. They arrived in Gaza to the cheers and joyful tears of hundreds of Palestinians who came out to the beaches to welcome them.
Two small boats, 42 determined human rights workers, one simple message: "The world has not forgotten the people of this land. Today, we are all from Gaza ."
Tonight, the cheering will be heard as far away as Tel Aviv and Washington D.C.

"We recognize that we're two, humble boats, but what we've accomplished is to show that average people from around the world can mobilize to create change. We do not have to stay silent in the face of injustice. Reaching Gaza today, there is such a sense of hope, and hope is what mobilizes people everywhere."
--Huwaida Arraf.
Huwaida is Palestinian-American, and also a citizen of Israel . She's a human rights activist and co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement. In 2007 she received her Juris Doctor from American University in Washington D.C.  Currently she teaches Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Al Quds University in Jerusalem . Huwaida sailed to Gaza aboard the SS Liberty.
"We're the first ones in 41 years to enter Gaza freely - but we won't be the last. We welcome the world to join us and see what we're seeing."
--Paul Larudee, Ph.D.
Paul is a cofounder of the Free Gaza Movement and a San Francisco Bay Area activist on the issue of justice in Palestine. He sailed to Gaza aboard the SS Liberty.
"What we've done shows that people can do what governments should have done. If people stand up against injustice, we can truly be the conscience of the world."
--Jeff Halper, Ph.D.
Jeff is an Israeli professor of anthropology and coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), a non-violent Israeli peace and human rights organization that resists the Israeli occupation on the ground. In 2006, the American Friends Service Committee nominated Jeff to receive the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize with Palestinian intellectual and activist Ghassan Andoni. Jeff sailed to Gaza aboard the SS Free Gaza.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 10:56 PM PDT

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